Smart shading has been considered something of a luxury item — a “nice to have” residential feature. That’s changing — and quickly.
“The perception of smart shading has evolved,” said JoAnn Arcenal, director of business development at Crestron. “Now it’s clear that the right shading options can help in a variety of ways — sustainability, energy efficiency, living in place, privacy, and many more.”
When smart shading becomes part of a home’s energy solutions, the results can be downright surprising. “This past year, we debuted two show homes that met net-zero status,” Arcenal said. “Actually, one of them met net-negative 15 status,” meaning that the home was generating more energy than it consumed.
Aesthetics and More
“The looks we’re able to achieve with the available fabric options for these shading solutions are as varied as clients’ tastes,” Arcenal added. But beyond aesthetic considerations, the choice of fabric is one of opacity. Arcenal suggests having the client answer some questions: “What is the purpose of this? Do you want more of a transparent fabric that will allow you to enjoy the view, but you still want some protection from the elements?”
That transparency is expressed as an “openness factor,” in this case a range from 3 to 17% — that percentage is the amount of light that can pass through the fabric. “If you want a bit more privacy, that’s 1 to 3% — translucent — and then your blackout or room-darkening, that’s 0% — allowing no light to come through. That’s popular in bedroom applications.”
Privacy and a solid sleep cycle aside, fabrics that let light in and keep heat out are also excellent aspects of an overall energy-saving solution. “There are dual-sided fabrics,” Arcenal offered. “On the inside, you can choose from a variety of colors, and on the side that’s facing the exterior, you can have a reflective surface that keeps radiation out.”
Convenience is Key
“One of the greatest benefits of smart shading is its convenience,” Arcenal explained. Especially in larger, luxury homes, raising or lowering each individual shade can become a chore. There’s another aspect of a manual clutch, however: “Smart solutions have proven extremely beneficial for those living in place,” Arcenal noted. “As someone’s dexterity or manual strength starts to diminish, being able to still enjoy the sunshine and the sunlight, that natural light, without having to operate a manual clutch is really key.”
Because shades can now be powered with various sources — from hardwired connections to onboard battery systems — shading solutions are applicable to projects no matter the construction phase. Arcenal outlines all the options: “You can have a hardwired shade solution from day one. You can have a manual solution that’s pre-wired so that you can swap out the shade for a smart solution when the budget allows. And then, of course, you have battery-powered options for a retrofit or remodel.”
“Like every solution Crestron offers, it’s all about flexibility,” Arcenal concluded.
Learn more about the smart shading solutions offered with the Crestron Home OS here.